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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 19.02.2023

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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 19.02.2023


LEVITICUS 19: 1 – 2, 17 — 18

The Lord said to Moses, “Say to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, You shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy. “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason with your neighbour, lest you bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the Lord.”

The Word of the Lord.

Psalm 103: 1 – 2, 3 – 4, 8, 10, 12 – 13 (R.) 8a

R/. The Lord is compassionate and gracious.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all within me, his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and never forget all his benefits. R/.

It is the Lord who forgives all your sins,
who heals every one of your ills,
who redeems your life from the grave,
who crowns you with mercy and compassion. R/.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger and rich in mercy.
He does not treat us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our faults. R/.

As far as the east is from the west,
so far from us does he remove our transgressions.
As a father has compassion on his children,
the Lord’s compassion is on those who fear him. R/.

“All things are yours, and you are Christ’s,’ and Christ is God’s.”
1ST CORINTHIANS 3: 16 – 23

Brethren: Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and that temple you are. Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” So let no one boast of men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; and you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

The Word of the Lord.

1st John 2: 5

Whoever keeps Christ’s word, in him truly love for God is perfected.

“Love your enemies.”
MATTHEW 5: 38 – 48

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, ‘Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if anyone would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

GOSPEL REFLECTION: Loving Even Your Enemies
February 19, 2023

“You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43–45)

Nowhere in the Old Testament does it say that we should hate our enemies. Note that Jesus did not say “It has been written…” Instead, He says, “You have heard that it was said…” So who said this? Some traditions among the scribes and Pharisees held this erroneous belief. Because some held that position, Jesus addressed it.

In this passage and in many others, Jesus calls us to a new depth of love that many thought impossible. In fact, even Jesus Himself acknowledged the height of His teaching when, at the conclusion of this passage, He says, “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Too often in life we settle for everything other than perfection. And though we may never achieve that level of holiness in this life, it must be our constant goal. In regard to our “enemies,” perfect love for them must become our daily mission.

So who is my “enemy?” Though Jesus does not define this for us, we should consider it to be anyone with whom there is some form of tension or discord. Perhaps there is someone who hates or dislikes you and speaks ill of you or treats you poorly. Or perhaps there is someone whom you dislike and find yourself angry at or even judgmental toward. So begin by trying to identify anyone with whom you have a lack of perfect affection. In truth, there might be many more people on that list than on the list of those you “love.”

Once you identify those who fall into the category of enemy to one extent or another, consider whether you love them. One Church Father says that we love our enemy “when we are not sorrowful at his success, or rejoice in his fall.” This is a very helpful definition to consider. Ultimately, this is the definition of envy.

If someone whom you dislike succeeds in something praiseworthy, how do you react interiorly? If there is an immediate visceral reaction or if you find yourself trying to figure out why they should be congratulated, then you might struggle with this sin. Or consider what you think, say or feel if you hear that someone you dislike has some problem, gets into some trouble, or encounters some misfortune. The ideal response is empathy and a desire for their well-being. If this is not the response within you, then pay attention to that.

Jesus concludes His teaching by saying that His Father “makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” In other words, God bestows His perfect love and mercy upon everyone equally. The only difference is that some people choose to accept that mercy and others reject it. As for ourselves, just like our loving God, we must offer love and mercy to everyone equally and as completely as we can. And though some may reject that love, just as they reject the love of God, it must always be offered and never rescinded. This is love of neighbor and also love of our enemies.

Reflect, today, upon those with whom you struggle to love to perfection. Perhaps that list is long. Start with those you encounter most often or those to whom you have a strong negative reaction. As you call them to mind, pray for them, for their good and for God’s blessings upon them. Try to see some goodness in them. Try to thank God for them, and try to remove any disordered feelings or thoughts you might have about them. This is the first step in your mission to fulfill Jesus’ new command of love.

My loving Lord, You love and bestow Your unlimited mercy upon all people, the good and bad alike. I pray that I may always be open to that love and receive it deeply into my own life. I pray also that Your love may shine through me into the lives of those who need it the most. Jesus, I trust in You.

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